Future Directions and Discipline Formation for ’Dialogue Studies’: Reflections on Critically Analyzing ’Dialogue’ in Theory and Practice
AbstractIn considering the need for a newly formed research area, or emergent discipline, of ‘dialogue studies’ this paper will explore three interrelated themes: the concept of ‘dialogue studies’ and its parameters and framing as an emergent discipline; the potential benefits of such a discipline to practice and policy; and the importance of critically understanding the cultural and epistemological context of ‘dialogue’ and its role in living with not only diversity, but difference. Whilst recognizing that there is a clear practice-driven need for the development of an area of research under the banner of ‘dialogue studies’ and that there are existing bodies of research, which such a field can effectively build on, this paper argues that the development of dialogue studies as a field cannot simply bring together and augment existing discourses, but needs to create new perspectives by adopting a multidisciplinary approach. It is also postulated that there is a need to develop an internal critical discourse within ‘dialogue studies’ which builds reflexivity into future research development and that ultimately any research undertaken in this area has to be both beneficial and supportive of practice, whilst also clearly articulating its successes and failures.
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